Necessities to Pack When Going Out

We’ve all been there. You have 20 minutes before you have to be out the door and off to some occasion, but you still haven’t packed your bag. It’s stressful running around your room, checking off boxes on your mental list of items you will need before heading out. I, for one, am constantly referring back in my head to what I should be bringing and what I should be leaving at home. As someone who often overpacks, I panic in a time crunch, bringing things I don’t actually need. Lucky for you guys, I found myself comparing with my gal pals about what goodies we take with us where and have compiled some checklists that you can refer to when you take your next outing!

Things to take with you consistently:

Try and make a habit of bringing these items everywhere you go and soon it will become routine!

  • ID of some sort: I always make sure to pack my school ID as well as a government-issued ID. 

  • Hair ties: Depending on the length of your hair, I recommend trying to keep your hair out of your face with either a hair tie or a headband. Also, securing your hair back with a headband also helps reduce the amount of sweat that gets into your eyes as the headband is meant to absorb it before. Also, when you’re out dancing or in a crowded space, you will definitely want something to tie your hair back; I, for one, can’t stand having my hair stick to the back of my neck. Hair ties are also great to keep on hand in case anyone else around you may need one. You never know when they will come in handy!

  • Key: This is also necessary if you want to get back into your room. I would suggest putting it on a keychain or carabiner so that you can attach it to your bra strap, jean hook, or somewhere on your body. 

  • Chapstick: I am a lip product addict and will usually bring three or four out with me just so that I have options. While you may not need that many products, it’s great to have one or two on hand.

  • Water bottle: It’s important to keep hydrated throughout the day. It is recommended that you should drink about two liters of water a day and what a better way then not to invest in your own water bottle! I am a big fan of water bottles and getting to decorate them with stickers and it's a great environmentally conscious option instead of constantly buying single-use plastic water bottles

For a night on the town:

  • Money: Typically I take a $20 bill and my debit card. Even in this day in age, you never know when you will have to pay for something in cash or by card. 

  • The health center card that all students receive during NSOP: It fits easily in the card holders that we were provided with but if that one doesn’t fit your style, you can get another one from a store like Nordstrom Rack. These card holders are worth the investment because you can keep all of your valuable cards together in one place. 

  • Gum: Bad breath is a fear of mine so I will usually have gum or mints on me. I recommend taking a pack instead of having separate pieces scattered in your bag because they can melt and make a mess. Also, why not bring a little extra in case anyone else needs some as well?

If you're going to a concert or music festival:

  • Portable charger: This is so so so important if you want to ensure you have a safe time. Concerts and music festivals are already incredibly hectic so it is important that you have a way to communicate with your friends in case someone gets lost! Having your phone charged can also be crucial if you need to get a ride home later or get in contact with someone.

  • Possibly a snack: Most festivals or concerts will allow small snacks to be brought in as most snacks you can purchase inside will be severely overpriced. Sometimes you will be waiting a long time in between sets or just need a snack and don’t want to leave the action. It's nice to have small snacks like pretzels or chips to munch on so you save money, time, and hassle!

  • Hand sanitizer: Depending on the location of your music fun, you probably won’t have the most luxurious and clean bathroom situation. It's good to have hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of germs, especially in close quarters with so many people.

If you're going to the gym: 

  • Headphones: These for me are a must at the gym, whether I want to catch up on a show or listen to music. The entertainment can be very helpful in distracting from whatever grueling workout you might be subjecting yourself to. Music has also a desirable uplift when you are working out and can help make working out more fun! I would suggest also putting together a playlist of songs that help you feel your best and will inspire you during your workout — or you can look up one on Spotify!

In your everyday school bag: 

  • The books that you need just for the classes you are going to that day: Some of my friends prefer to carry around all their books for every class, but I find that packing only what I need for that day makes me feel less stressed and allows me to focus and plan accordingly. 

    • Extra tip: if you are finding it difficult to resist the temptation to throw all of your school supplies in your bag, try and get a smaller bag so it forces you to make more thoughtful decisions about what you should be taking. It will also mean you end up with a lighter load!

  • Sunglasses: Your eyes can get burned and damaged by the sun! Keep your eyes safe and get a pair of sunnies you love to protect your eyes on those extra sunny days!

  • Headphones: Again, I am a huge fan of music and always make sure to bring my earbuds to listen to music on the go and then I will usually bring the pair of noise cancelling headphones I have (which are an excellent investment, by the way) for when I want to go to places that are noisier and get work done. 

  • Tampons/pads/panty liners: These are always a great thing to have on hand not just for yourself but also for anyone else who may need one! Be a superhero for someone and keep some feminine products in your bag.

  • Pencil case: It may seem obvious to have one of these but the amount of times that I have seen people just reach into the depths of their bags to retrieve a single pencil is alarming. You want to be prepared for class and that includes having a writing utensil. 

    • Things to keep in your pencil case:

      • Highlighters

      • Pencils

      • Pens

      • Colored pen 

      • Eraser 

  • Phone charger: This one is pretty important, especially if you know you will be going to the library or will be out for a while. 

    • You can also bring a portable charger in case there are no outlets (but that’s pretty rare nowadays). 

  • Gum: Again, I despise bad breath and always try to keep gum on hand. Chewing gum has also been linked to increase in focus by students which is a bonus!

  • Laptop/tablet: With the increase in technology these days, the use of laptops is pretty much necessary and bringing your own is a great convenience. Unless you are handwriting 10-page essays, or totally prefer a classic style, I would recommend making sure you bring your device with you.  

  • Notebooks: Technology is great, but if you are someone who likes taking notes by hand, you may want to carry around one or two notebooks. They are always handy to keep around in case inspiration strikes and you want to physically write something down — or doodle in class.

  • Planner: I am such a planner freak. My planner is my child and I get stressed when I misplace her. I like to visually see how my weeks are planned out and my planner allows me to do that and personalize it to my liking. Of course, this is only one way to go about scheduling yourself, but now that I have entered “adulthood,” I feel more compelled to have a physical manifestation of the events going on in my life… and you never know when Barnard Secure will crash.

No matter what activity you're heading out to do, make sure your bag is packed with everything you'll need!